Mac N’ Cheese Minus the Macaroni

Well hello delicious, my but aren’t you pretty. It’s perfectly okay to talk to your food–especially if it’s totally and completely something you shouldn’t be eating. Case in point, my recent genius decision to make a mac n’ cheese dish. What’s so bad about it? Oh honey, it’s soooo bad it’s good. The good: (A) It is delicious, and, (B) It is made almost entirely of cheese. The bad: (A) It has a bajillion calories, and, (B) It is made almost entirely of cheese (and I think I am allergic to cheese).

When I was eating dairy regularly I was a pretty big fan of cheese and made a mean Lobster Mac N’ Cheese that people would ask me to make pretty much whenever we had dinner. Sigh. The good ole days. But a treat every now and again is what makes life worth living, right? So here we are. I was craving something home-y and comforting and there aren’t many other comfort foods that come close to beating macaroni and cheese. But I wanted something more pillowy than macaroni so I made my mac sans macaroni and substituted gnocchi. (Note to self: Best decision ever).

Gnocchi “Mac” N’ Cheese
–15 oz. package gnocchi
–4 pieces bacon
–2 cups shredded cheese (I used a mixed bag of mild and sharp cheddar mixed with jack cheese to get all kinds of cheese flavors. I also used “2%” or the “Reduced Fat” or whatever it was to make myself feel better)
–splash of milk (half and half or cream will work too)
–black pepper

Cook the gnocchi per the package directions, omitting any salt or oil. Drain and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
While the gnocchi cooks, fry the bacon. Remove from the pan and drain on paper towels.
Mix in 1 3/4 cups of the cheese. The heat from the gnocchi will melt the cheese nicely. Add in a splash of milk (or cream or half and half) to help make the melted cheese into a nice non-stringy sauce.
Add lots of fresh black pepper to the mix and give a few good stirs. Take your cooked bacon and crumble it directly into the bowl. Stir again for a nice mix. You will not need to add salt–there will be plenty from the bacon! Pour the mixture into a small glass baking dish. 
Top with the remaining cheese (and if you’re me, add more cracked pepper) and bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes until the cheese on top is fully melted and you have to resist the urge to eat the whole pan of cheesy badness. Eat up and perhaps choke down a salad so you can pretend this isn’t completely terrible for you…

Dammit Jim, I’m a cook, not a doctor…
Time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4
Calories: 513 per serving

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